Having got off to a slow start with the TYT Challenge, I’ve kept more on top of it since then. Making time to read the emails with the daily lessons in. (Much helped by having an hour sat waiting for the eldest at Dance Class this morning with nothing else to do!).
Today was a prime example of a day where I would have ended up heading home, the eldest little one “acting out” and me frazzled beyond the reaches of a strong coffee and chocolate.
We missed getting to her dance class on Thursday evening, so I said we would catch up with going to the class this morning. 9am start and I still don’t like mornings – but its not about me. We were up and breakfasting by just before 8am and then we were off and out.
I can’t really put my finger on any one thing so far within the TYT challenge that has caused me to stop and think – ah… that’s where my temper comes from… On the whole, I’ve been more mindful, and more aware of the fact that my children are absorbing every single action and reaction I have.
Having said that, today has been difficult. There have been a few late nights over the past week for me, and today has felt extremely difficult in terms of trying not to fall asleep. It would have been a good duvet day had there not been kids around. But – back to the wins for today. The snaps that have happened, have been completely down to my own state of tired and grumpy. But I’ve reconnected to reality and faced up to making the changes instead of letting the whole day escalate.
Dance class – no matter what day we go to it, always brings out a bit of attitude in the eldest little one. Maybe she’s tired afterwards, hungry, or just overwhelmed from dancing to music. She is quite sensitive to things like that – much like her Dad. But after Dance class, we needed to do a quick shop. Normally this is prime meltdown territory, usually ending with me getting stressed out and then snapping at everyone for the entire rest of the day.
The shop could have easily ended in a downward spiral. She was testing her boundaries, just being her self. She was doing things that were quite random… saying loudly “Atishoo”. But saying it – not sneezing. And cue the older couples turning to look at her and going “Awww!” Cue the eldest creating a fuss and hiding behind me, and being actually on the verge of rude. Up one aisle, and then down the next – and again – she did something that made a lady take notice of her, say something nice to her and be met with the complete rebuffal of the eldest one! I did actually say to her “Well if you don’t want to be noticed by people, don’t do things that make people notice you!” Then a few steps further on she said in a very small voice “I’m shy Mummy”. Usually I meet this with my own reality of absolute tosh. She is not shy – not this girl. But then what do I know of what her world is like in her head for her? So instead of dismissing her feelings I crouched down to her level in the shop and said “You feel shy?” She nodded. I remembered one of the books I got her about feelings. On the “Shy” page – it says amongst other things – pretend you’re a giant! So we pretended she was a Giant, stomping around the shop… and how easily she’d be able to lift all the things that were too heavy for me*. (* Really had weak arms today… funny how pretending makes things like that happen!) But it changed the dynamic. I entered her world for a brief time and instead of her winding me up being completely random and then appearing very rude, we were able to shop and pretend we were giants.
I was able to do a shop with her, and actually on the whole I really enjoyed spending that time with her. I got a bit fraught near checkout time, but again, she’s trying to “help” and I’m trying to be quick because of other customers waiting. I’m scared I’m going to loose her, that she’ll wander off, or be taken (stems from my own childhood memory of getting lost on our local market on a busy market day). Therefore I must keep my eyes on her all the time whilst loading the checkout and reloading the trolley… Really? There go the eggs….
There were a couple of times today when I did raise my voice – but I was quicker to go back into the kids and give them hugs and kisses, and redress the balance of how the previous few moments had escalated. Normally I’d hide in the kitchen, or go upstairs and “tidy”. (Also known as staring out of the window wishing I were gardening…).
My lovely sweet girl has the ability to absolutely break my heart. With love. I put her in her car seat whilst I was unloading the shopping into the car.
“Thank you Mummy”.
“What for Sweetie?”
“Thank you for sharing my life”.
Cue me gawping like a codfish, not knowing whether to laugh, cry, or what… so I just hugged her.
Seriously I do not know where she hears things like this, or gets them from. We are quite strict with what she watches on the TV, so it’s not really there she gets it from. Maybe she has heard it on the radio, as we do listen to one of 4 stations almost continuously. A few months ago, OH And myself watched one of our favourite films after the kids were asleep. Pirates of the Caribbean – At Worlds End, where Will Turner becomes the captain of The Black Pearl and says to Elizabeth
Will Turner: [to Elizabeth, holding his heart in the Dead Man’s Chest] It’s always belonged to you. Will you keep it safe?
The following morning I went into the her room to wake her. She sat up and rubbed her eyes, gave me a hug, put her hand flat on my heart and said “I’ll keep your heart safe”. To say I was freaked out was an understatement. She’s something else that girl.
But back to today, when she said “Thank you for sharing my life” she made me stop and think. I really looked at her, and saw her. Just her. A little girl, trying so hard to please, whilst trying to balance that with doing things she likes to do, and be that impulsive, random fireball of energy.
I decided not to intervene everytime I heard a squeal or a cry from the front room whilst I was preparing our evening meal. I poked my head around the door when the squeal was more of a cry, or a pain cry – but you can usually tell when you need to intervene, and when one of them is just trying to get someone’s attention.
As a result of this, the two smalls had one of the loveliest afternoons they’ve ever had. Due in part to the smallest small really developing and coming into his own character, whilst the eldest small (apart from trying to put a cushion on his face) is remembering the rules for playing with “Little Brother”.
I am absolutely wrecked tonight. It will be an early night I think. I am grateful I found the TYT Challenge. I am grateful I have the chance to change things.